Rwanda: Mother Appeals for Extended Kidney Treatment Under Medical Insurance

12 February 2024

Beatrice Uwifashije is grappling with the urgent need for extended dialysis treatment for her 16-year-old daughter, who has been battling kidney disease since September 2023, The New Times has learnt.

The teenager, who was in her third year of high school when the illness struck, has been unable to attend classes since then due to the severity of her condition, according to her mother.

ALSO READ: MPs propose review of dialysis treatment under Mutuelle de Santé

"The child's entire body swelled," Uwifashije recalled, highlighting the gravity of her daughter's health crisis

The teenager who subscribes to the community-based health insurance scheme (CBHI), commonly known as Mutuelle de Santé, initially received 18 sessions of dialysis treatment under the scheme, which covers such treatment for six weeks, equivalent to 18 sessions, as each week typically entails three sessions.

However, as of February 1, the treatment was abruptly halted because the scheme does not extend coverage beyond this timeframe, leaving Uwifashije and her daughter in a desperate situation.

Speaking on the matter, Alexis Rulisa, the Head of the CBHI Department at RSSB, acknowledged the scheme's limitation but noted that patients enrolled in a kidney transplant program continue to receive coverage until they undergo the procedure.

ALSO READ: Cancer, kidney transplant services to be covered under Mutuelle de Santé

Despite efforts by the Ministry of Health to reduce the cost of dialysis in 2013, the financial burden remains significant for families like Uwifashije's, who struggle to meet even the 10% co-payment required under Mutuelle de Santé.

According to Rulisa, the inadequate funding allocated to the scheme is the primary reason for its limited coverage, suggesting that additional funding could extend the support provided.

Uwifashije is now making a heartfelt plea for assistance to ensure her daughter continues to receive the necessary medical care while awaiting a kidney transplant, should it be deemed necessary by healthcare professionals.

Dr. Patrick Ntwari, who oversaw the child's treatment at Gisenyi Hospital before her transfer to the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK) for further care, emphasized the importance of ongoing medical support and consultations to determine the next steps in her treatment.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Sabin Nsanzimana has acknowledged the financial strain imposed by expensive medical services like dialysis and outlined plans to further reduce costs by compensating through adjustments in the pricing of other commonly used medications.

"We have a plan to lower it [dialysis cost] further to Rwf25,000 or Rwf30,000. We are conducting that study. But, for it to be lower there is something that must somehow increase [in cost]. We were considering paracetamol tablets. If the price of one tablet increases from Rwf100 to Rwf120, or Rwf105, as they are many, they can supplement the few expensive services that are used by a few people," Nsanzimana said.

Tags: Kidney failure, kidney disease, dialysis, dialysis, kidney transplant.

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